Ruined Buildings Part 1

I wanted to make some more ruined and battle damaged buildings for my table top, and thought i would document the process with the help of Colonel Mustard.

First up i drew up some rough plans and designs. There are plenty of places to get inspiration, the internet being the most obvious. I settled on making a house that has its centre completely blown out and a half flattened, heavily damaged cottage. I use 40mm per storey as my basic measurement (although in my drawings i did change to 35mm but then changed my mind back). Doors are 15mm x 30mm tall and windows 20mm square. I sketch out the basic plan and measurements as you can see below.


For the base i use a 15mm border around the bottom of the building. In this case i only put a border around the front and back as i wanted to be able to place the ruins adjacent to each other with no gap to form a ruined terrace. My next step is to cut bases out of 3mm MDF, making sure you calculate the correct width and length of your building plus any border required. I then draw my building design onto 5mm foamboard. Most houses end up as four pieces as they are no more complicated than a box. I guess this is why i object to paying through the nose for purchased buildings as they are little more than an MDF or plastic or resin box that is decorated! I can do that for less than $30 per house.

Once you have accurately drawn your building cut it out carefully using a sharp knife. Try and keep the knife perpendicular so you cut straight through the foam and don’t leave any wonky angles. Cut out all the window and door frames too.


I then cut away some of the card covering on the foamboard where the building render has been damaged. You can draw guidelines around some of the damaged walls and then cut through the card outer layer. Slide your knife under the card layer and peel if off carefully. Then with a ballpoint pen draw on exposed brickwork. When you press on the foam core it creates a texture which looks really good. Then its glue your box together on the baseĀ  with PVA glue and leave to dry.

Then its a question of cutting out 20mm x 5mm sections of balsa wood and gluing them into the windows as frames. i also add 20mm x 5mm balsa wood as window mantels and lintels. Above the doors i also put a 15mm x 5mm lintel. On the inside walls i add balsa wood beams halfway up the building, which indicate where the floor would have been, or if you do put some floor in they can act as supports.

At this stage our ruins look like this. In my next post we will do the building texture, rubble and debris, the roof and finally painting!


Metcalfe Models Manor House HO/OO Scale

My terrain projects continued this week with a new building for the battlefield. In my quest for good sources of houses i thought i would try out one of the cardboard models from the English company Metcalfe Models. They are slightly cheaper than plastic and resin kits out there, but still way more expensive than scratch building your own. I think this guy cost me around 10 pounds plus postage. Most resin and MDF buildings out there cost from 12 pounds up to 20, so the cardboard option is not much of a saving anyway.

There is also a bit of a problem with scale. Listed as HO/OO scale, mainly for those railway people out there, this comes in a bit more like 1/76 or smaller. Other companies like Najewitz. Hovels and Charlie Foxtrot produce buildings that match better with 20mm or 1/72 scale models. If i am building my own houses i tend to use a measurement of 40mm per floor (or the height of two people). These Metcalfe kits tend to be more like 30mm per floor and therefore do look a little small. So my home made two storey plus a roof houses would be 120mm high plus chimney stacks. This Manor House comes in around 110mm inc chimney stacks, so you can see how the size difference would be noticeable.

Anyway scale aside the kit is really fun and easy to put together. All the bits are well labelled and construction can be complete in an hour or two. Initially the result looks very much like a cardboard model, which should be no surprise, but with some basing on MDF and some brown dry brushing and streaking and messing around, you can rough him up a bit. So i was very happy with the end result. But i think due to the small scale size of this range i will not be buying any more. I am better off to continue to build my own houses from foam board, MDF, balsa and modelling clay.

Check out a few photos with a Panzer 3 and a SS private, gives you an idea of scale.

Normandy Bocage Part 2

Following on from my blog a few weeks ago i recently finished more bocage sections using the same techniques as before. MDF bases with coconut fibre foliage flocked heavily with a bright green. Some sections include trees sticking out, which is apparently how these hedges evolved. Some sources put bocage up to 5m in height so with a scale of 10mm to 1m I made these sections up to 50mm tall. They definitely look the part and will block line of sight nicely and make my Normandy battlefields look more and more realistic.

I laid them all out with a home made ruined building and a few German armoured vehicles cruising through. Check out my photos below!

Hasegawa Sd.Kfz 251/1 Ausf. D Halftrack

Panzergrenadiers always need more half tracks to get them around the battlefield. In 1/72 scale there are plenty of options to choose from. After trying the Plastic Soldier Company fast build half track kits i wanted something that gave me a bit more of a challenge in the modelling department. The result was the purchase of a couple of these Sd/Kfz 251’s from Hasegawa at around AUD $10 each from my favourite Japanese hobby shop. In my experience Hasegawa kits are nice models, and provide a good mix of decent detail and an interesting build. This one is no exception.

You build the running gear first with all the individual wheels and rubber tracks. I have read plenty of complaints about these tracks but i think they are fine once you paint them. The running gear is then attached to the lower hull. I kept the upper hull unattached until after painting so i could paint the interior easily. No driver is supplied so i cut down a Plastic Soldier Company passenger i had spare and fitted him in. He lost most of his legs to squeeze in, but you can barely see the back of his head anyway. I also had some spare stowage and jerry cans (one of which i realise i put on backwards oops) which went on the armoured sides of the vehicle.

Paint job was the usual Tamiya Dark Yellow Dunkelb and a hand painted dark green camouflage scheme. Good decals are provided with a whole selection of numbers. You can never have enough transport vehicles and this Hasegawa kit is great value and definitely worth building the next time your grenadiers hit the roads and fields of Normandy.